(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 11 May 2008):

1. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and GOC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yedlin briefed ministers on the situation in Lebanon in light of recent events.  The Defense Minister briefed ministers on recent events in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made the following remarks: "We are saddened that, over the weekend, the terrorist organizations continued their murderous attacks, this time claiming a victim in Kfar Aza, Jimmy Kedoshim.  Over the weekend, I heard about Jimmy from his friends and acquaintances in Kfar Aza. His story, like those of the other victims of this murderous, Gaza Strip-based terrorism, is heartbreaking. Let it be clear that he Government of Israel views Hamas as responsible for all that happens, vis-à-vis terrorism from the Gaza Strip.   

We do not check the organizations’ tiny details.  The dominant, controlling element in the Gaza Strip is Hamas.  It is responsible and it will have to bear the consequences and full responsibility for this activity.  This terrorist organization is both cynical and cruel: It talks about the need for calm even as it does not cease its acts of terrorism.  It tries to use force in order to cause a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and attack the border crossings  even as it cries out.  It tries to receive international legitimacy while acting as the arm of Iran.

Israel will not capitulate to this terrorism.  We have no intention of abandoning long-term security interests for a short-lived and fragile quiet designed to give the terrorist organizations a respite in which to reorganize.  We do not intend to countenance this; we have said so time and again.  The reality that prevails today must change.  Either there is quiet or the State of Israel will take the steps that it must in order to ensure quiet.  This will not end in a day or a week.  We never promised this; we cannot promise this.  But I promise one thing: Either there is quiet or the State of Israel will take strong action that will – in the end – bring quiet.

Regarding events in Lebanon, I do not think that I must go into detail except that the State of Israel is naturally monitoring events there."

2. Prime Minister Olmert said: "I note that we recently celebrated the State of Israel’s 60th Independence Day.  The celebrations were held in good taste, in an atmosphere that created a sense of satisfaction and joy among very many Israelis.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila, who was responsible for the 60th anniversary events,  for the efficient organization and planning behind the events."

3. Transportation and Road Safety Minister Shaul Mofaz and senior Ministry officials briefed ministers on the state of road safety in the first four months of 2008.

4. The Cabinet decided to establish a national Fire and Rescue Authority. 

5. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence, and in order to strengthen ties with Jerusalem, Israel’s capital,  the Cabinet decided to hold a rural settlement event in Jerusalem, with the participation of the various regional councils.  This will be the eighth year in a row that such an event – including a parade, tours and a central event at Teddy Stadium – will be held. 

6. The Cabinet appointed Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila to formulate – in cooperation with the Education Ministry and other Government bodies – a detailed, multi-year plan on fostering young leadership in the State of Israel, and to submit it for Cabinet approval within 90 days. 

7. Pursuant to Article 21 of the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), and in accordance with the recommendation of the Civil Service Committee, the Cabinet decided to exempt from public tender the post of director of the Bailiff’s Office. 

8. Pursuant to Article 21 of the 1959 Civil Service Law (Appointments), the Cabinet decided to exempt from public tender the post of director of the Minorities Sector Economic Development Authority. 

9. Pursuant to Article 31(A) of Basic Law: The Government, – the Cabinet appointed Minister Gideon Ezra as Tourism Minister, in addition to his present status as Environmental Protection Minister.  Prime Minister Olmert made it clear that the appointment is temporary and will be valid only until the appointment of a permanent Tourism Minister.